Focusing Training On Making A Difference


Over the holidays I had more than a couple of people ask me what the training department should be focusing on in 2013.  While there are trends that are widely published for what many companies are preparing to do, I responded each time with a question about what will impact their company the most.

While management and leadership training is getting more and more attention each year and interpersonal skills for all staff training is one of my personal favorites to implement, these associates were really asking about what they could do to make a difference this year.

The entire training team, not just the manager, should be aware of the direction the company is taking this year.  Hopefully someone was taking notes during those end of the year speeches where executives talk about not only the successes of 2012, but the direction and plans for 2013.

If training wants to make a difference, they should be focusing on how to make sure that employees can deliver on the big goals this year!

Let’s say a division of the company is planning a sizeable growth in new employees, and for our example let’s make it a 1000 new hires.  Not only will each of them need a strong orientation to the company, but learning plans that meet the gap in what they already can do and what they will need to do for your company.  Mentors and on-the-job trainers may be part of the learning solution, but this takes time to coordinate.  And how quickly all 1000 new hires are expected to be on board can make a difference in your plans.

Another side outcome of a whole bunch of new employees is that the existing number of managers will not be enough to handle another 1000 employees.  Where are the new managers coming from?  Are you promoting subject matter experts that have not been trained in management communication skills?

Another announcement you won’t want to miss is your company is planning to launch a new computer system or upgrade on an existing system.  Where will training be needed?  Will training be ready in time?

One of the biggest unknowns for training is when an announcement was made “that we are acquiring another company this year that will double our employee count.”   And how often is training personnel included in the due diligence to see what kind of training processes are in place at the other company?  I guarantee your plans will be different depending on what the other team is doing.

If you are reading this as I write, we are at the very beginning of the year, so unless you have a 1st quarter goal yet to be uncovered you still have time to be prepared.  Having everyone in the training department with open ears for news keeps the function current and prepared to make a difference.  If you are always waiting for management to come to you chances are you are going to severely shorten the time you have to prepare.

Every year should be a reason to make a difference.  It is a great feeling to know your impact on the organization’s ability to engage.  Make 2013 another year that the company is grateful they have a training function!

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